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Cory Leonard
"If your life is such a big joke, why should I care?"
"If your life is such a big joke, why should I care?"
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my life is complete
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people do these things and it makes me laugh a lot

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how my brain progresses throughout the day..
Wow, that escalated exponentially 
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Week 2/Concert 2 of my 4 week concert tour.  The Loving Touch was a pretty sweet club. It was clearly very new and the setup was ultra hipster with a sitting area adorned in fake-foliage. The bar was nestled to one side and the step and rails around it provided an area for people that just wanted to drink to stand and be merry. Opposite that was the booths for the bands to sell merch, which was nice to see that they tailored their design specifically for that purpose.  The stage was small, maybe two feet off the ground, and was cool... nothing special but nothing bad either. Fire Marshall +Andy Mayville pointed out every fire hazard and safety concern of the building, while he fed me birthday Oberons before the show. Enjoyable and unique conversation pre-ear-bleeding-concert.

Boyfrndz:  Opening band and they were pretty interesting at first, then lost me. They are reminiscent of post-rock because of how loud and gnarly their songs were, but it got old. The songs droned for far too long. It might have been better had I known their music before hand, but to hear this for the first time live was loud and borderline obnoxious. The singer/guitarist would start EVERY song with a loop. Then that loop would continue through the whole song. They played over it, but the effect of the loop distracted me from hearing the whole of the music. I mean, it was cool... and I liked the sounds... I liked their style.. but again, they lost me after the third song due to the incessant drone and grating sound of the loops. I feel like if they toned that down and changed up their vocals from simply adding another layer of long tones, they would be better. Again, I feel like to give them a fair shake I need to listen to an album.. we'll see. 

Your Favorite Enemies:  As this band came onstage and played half of a song I found myself texting +Nathan Miller  saying, "Time to go to school."  Way back during High School years, I went to Summerfest in Milwaukee with the Millers. First festival experience and it was overwhelmingly amazing. Nate and I strolled the park going from show to show just to get tastes of bands regardless if we knew them or liked them. Then we would "go to school." We would dissect everything about the band good and bad. We were very objective about it.... at first. Eventually "going to school" became synonymous with, "this band sucks... let's destroy them."  

This band had every cliche for making a band shit I could ever name.
-Overly enthusiastically young movements, dress, and demeanor for dudes older than me. 
-BLAND Canadian ripoff music.. not a fucking thing sounded original.
-Lead singer with a fucking maraca... We can't hear it, douche. So contrived
-They closed their show by playing a song really long and dismantled the drums one item at a time and moved it into the audience. Then the whole band came out and played in the middle of the room. The very fact that they plan to do this shows that they expect there to be enough room at their shows that people can move out of the way and their entire band can stand in their spot. I found it contrived and pointless.
-I know I can be pretty harsh, and I appreciate that there are people that enjoy this band.. as evidenced by the fact that they are touring, sellng albums, and opening for an awesome band like Trail of Dead. I give them that. It wasn't for me. I found it boring and completely unoriginal. They had a typical girl lolligagging in the back playing keyboards you couldn't hear. The second guitarist looked like Guy Fieri and had the fakest plastered smile on his face I wanted to throw a chair at him. The dress of the whole band was absurdly "planted" to appeal to their audience. The lead guitarist and bassist were twins and both had huge John Miller-like hair (if you know our friend John then this is hilarious... if you don't then sorry the joke isn't for you) and were tattooed quite nicely. Their antics were so.... idk..... not convincing. The lead singer was small and reminded me of Tyrion Lannister but wasn't a little person... well kind of.. I think he may have broken the height barrier to be a little person by a few inches. He liked to dance around and be all hard by air jamming with the guitarists and grabbing their huge wads of hair in a manner that screamed repressed sexuality. Idk. I just... I had more fun ripping on them than listening to their music. ok. Bell rang.

Trail of Dead: The set list from this show lived up to their propensity to pummel your ear holes with way-more-intense than you would expect rock. Trail of Dead are true nerds...

to be continued..

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Awesome.

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I don't care why this was made. I love it.

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I convinced +Kevin Mateer​ to check out this show with me last night and afterwards he looked in shock and simply said, "what just happened? How was that only $20?"

My sentiment exactly.

Opening bands were intriguing:  

Bloodshot Billy.. One dude sitting in a chair with his guitar and a kick drum and high-hat. His hair was slicked back like he came out of a gang from West Side Story and his music was insane. It was rockabilly but what he did vocally was nuts. It was the most exaggerated version of 50's era rockabilly vocals I have ever heard. There is no way to describe it with words... I'll steal someone else's to do it justice because this pretty much captures the essence of how I felt after watching this genius at work: 

"During an insane, sweaty, barefoot, pajama-clad solo set of the psycho-trash-blues-punk whatever music he plays his all-foot drumming was genuinely remarkable, his lightning fast guitar playing was bizarrely rich-sounding and weird, and his froglike vibrato alien creature singing was otherworldly. And he spits really good.And his interplay with the audience was magical. Un-fucking-believable show!" 

So there.

Danny and the Darleens:  Pretty straight forward Detroit style rock. The drummer was a beast and was pretty vocal and loose about things. I remember him saying, "Can we play (insert song title I don't remember) cause I'm whipped." Then for the next song he says, "Is it verse refrain solo verse verse? Or is it two verses then solo? I have no idea I can't remember right now." It was amusing how lackadaisical he was about everything.

The music was choppy simplistic rock. The band seemed clean cut and precise to the core. Just a tight three piece made up of a monster drummer, female bassist that played a gorgeously worn in black Rickenbacker, and the lead guitarist/only guitarist/vocalist. Songs were not complex but they rocked out pretty severely.

What really got me about this band was what came after their show. The photographer for the venue was standing next to me and I started talking to him. He goes on to tell me that Danny Kroha, (the lead) has a huge Detroit rock scene history. He was in a band called The Gories that had members of The Dirtbombs in it. Told me he just released a solo album on Third Man Records (Jack White's Label). The drummer owns a record store in Hammtramck that Detroit bands play at randomly. Plus a ton of other information all tied into the Detroit music scene. It made me realize how little I know of the Detroit Rock Scene and living so close decided then and there that my goal for 2015 is to get to know Detroit a lot more intimately. Why have I been lazy about this? (That's rhetorical). Time for that to change and my first stop is Danny and the Darleans. Updates will follow for sure.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: I really think people need to listen to this band more. I get it, it isn't a vocal focused band with catchy hooks to sing along with. Nope. What I do know is that loving a band you KNOW is this awesome, and not being able to convince others to give them a chance, is a rather lonely existence. This band changed the way I hear music. It transitioned me from a life of run-its-course grunge music into a broader understanding of what rock n roll can be. It sucks when I know so many people that have excellent taste in music but it is just different enough that the chasm between indie rock and this type of blues is too much to overcome.  Not that I fault anyone for it.. but I promise you if you see this band live it will change how you see concert going.  

After their last album came out, Spencer did an interview wherein he talked about their songwriting process and described it as being an exercise in wordless communication. They basically get in a room and jam until songs are written. Then they wordlessly build refrains, verses, trade off on solos, or whatever. Barely any direction is offered outside of the swagger in the notes they play. Onstage, they employ a similar wordless tactic: no set list. they decide the next song within the fractions of seconds between notes by seeing who jumps in with a riff to decide the next song. Sometimes they use baseball like gestures to indicate a song. Sometimes Judah Bauer simply plays a few notes and the rest follow... or Simmons drops a beat... or Spencer says a word. Whatever it is, it definitely is not planned and it definitely is indicative of how well they know their craft and band mates.

The show itself has ridiculous amounts of energy. Non stop music. Everything is the concert. They waste no time for banter unless it is part of the lead in for the next tune or to introduce the band to the audience. Spencer gets right in your face. He climbs on the monitors and shoves his sweaty brow right into masses of people and looks you dead in the eye and reminds you that "The Blues are still number 1." New songs start before other songs end. The unwritten "encore" policy of concerting is barely adhered to.. They simply walk off stage to get a drink and rest for half a second and come right back up. 

You have never seen a Theremin used with such intensity. You have never seen such profound reverence for a shitty-Chinese-catalog-bought guitar, (Spencer's guitar is famously a piece of junk that he swears has a sound he can not produce with any other guitar he has found) and you definitely have no idea what you are getting into when you see this concert.  I remember telling my friend Kevin, whom I introduced JSBX to only months prior, that the show will blow him away, but I wondered if that would be true. A few songs in and I remember thinking, "Of course it is awesome... I love the band. Maybe it isn't as awesome if you don't know the band."  Then around the fourth or fifth song those thoughts were replaced with, "holy fuck. who wouldn't love this?" JSBX grab your face and suck you into the show. There is no respite offered. 

Maybe it is the ringing in my ears or lack of sleep as I sit her typing on my work computer chugging caffeine to stay useful for the day, but I am at a loss for words to describe how intense and amazing this band is live. I implore you to catch a show. Tickets tend to be no more than $20 with fees. Venues are tiny. Crowds are awesome. Energy is high. You will walk out wondering where your socks went... I promise you a good time. 
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